Massif des Maures Attractions
The Massif des Maures, on the coast between Hyères in the west and Fréjus in the east, is a hilly area some 60km/37mi long and 30km/18mi wide; it is composed of primitive rocks - granite, gneiss and slate (reddish or dark gray in color, with metallically glistening mica). It represents the remains of a land mass which once covered the whole of the western Mediterranean. The deeply fissured afforested uplands are still relatively isolated. The name has nothing to do with the Moors who in these parts were always called "Sarrasins", but is derived from the provençal "maure" or "moure", meaning dark, uncanny.
Corniche des Maures
The Corniche des Maures for the greatest part of the way is road D559 along the coast and, with its many bays and cliffs between Le Lavandou and St-Tropez, has exceptionally fine scenery. It passes a considerable number of resorts; just beyond Cavalaire it skirts Cap Nègre (120m/394ft) and, via Canadel-sur-Mer and Rayol, reaches the resort and port of Cavalaire (castle ruin) situated on a sheltered bay. To the northwest rises the 528m/1,733ft high summit of Les Pradels. The Corniche continues around the peninsula of Cap Camarat near St-Tropez and ends near St-Tropez Bay.
Maures - Collobrières
Reached by road D41 going north from Bormes-les-Mimosas for about 22km/13mi, Collobrières lies in a hollow in the heart of the Massif des Maures. It is well known for its marrons glacés and Provençal joinery. Good fossils and minerals have been found in the vicinity.
Inland lies La Garde-Freinet, reached from Port-Grimaud along roads D14 and D558 (16km/10mi). Situated on a pass with fine views, the village was a major strongpoint of the Saracens, but had already been a Roman military post. Of interest are the ruins of the former Saracen fortress of Freinet on a hill to the northeast (about 30 minutes' walk), from where there is an unusually extensive panorama.
Le Lavandou, France
Le Lavandou lies at the foot of the Massif des Maures, about half-way between Toulon and St Tropez (40km/25mi east of Toulon), on a broad bay facing southeast.This pretty former fishing village, now popular as a holiday resort, may owe its name to the large amount of lavender which grows in the surrounding area. Extensive areas of holiday homes and numerous high-rise buildings are prominent features of Le Lavandou. From the harbor, in the eastern part of which spacious mooring facilities for yachts have recently been established, ferries leave for the Iles de Hyères.West of the harbor stretches the Rade de Bormes, a bay with fine sand, and along it runs the Boulevard-de-Lattre-de-Tassigny; from the boulevard there is a comprehensive view of the sea and the islands of Port-Cros and Levant (part of the group of the Hyères Islands). In the south the bay is enclosed by the wooded slopes of Cap Bénat. Far to the east Cap Lardier rises from the sea.Road N559 running east from Le Lavandou gives access to sandy beaches, interspersed with rocky stretches.
South of Le Lavandou the wooded Cap Bénat extends out into the sea. The road leading to it comes first to the resort of La Favière (yacht harbor, beach) before reaching the settlement of holiday homes at Cap Bénat. On the highest point, Les Fourches (205m/673ft), stands a castle and, on the extremity of the cape, a lighthouse.
The old township of Bormes-les-Mimosas, 2km/1mi northwest of Le Lavandou, is picturesquely situated on the flank of a hill. The best view is from the terrace near the castle ruins. In the Place de la Liberté stands the handsome 16th C. Chapelle St- François-de-Paule (illuminated in summer), flanked by two cypress trees. A statue commemorates the beneficent deeds of St Francis of Paula during the plague of 1481. In the cemetery can be seen a memorial to the landscape-painter Jean-Charles Cazin (1841-1901); some of his work is to be seen in the Hôtel de Ville. Also of interest is the Tour de l'Horloge, an 18th C. clock tower, and the Church of St-Trophime (also 18th C.; fine winged altar). Below the church extends old Bormes, a typical Provençal town with steep streets (known as "rompi-cuou" = breakneck). With La Favière Bormes-les-Mimosas has a good yacht harbor.
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